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    What is the fastest thing in the world?


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    Could the fastest thing in the world be a thought, a blink of an eye, the light?! Or something completely different and unexpected? 

    A few days ago I was barely able to avoid an accident with my stoma bag while I was in a store…

    Usually, stoma bags are harmless and completely safe for all of those who are stuck with them for a lifetime, just like me. And not only for those who have a stoma, but also, they are completely safe for everyone in their surroundings because they don’t leak on others or smell at all and are completely invisible to everyone, except when the person having it, allows you to see it.

    As you could conclude from my first sentence, obviously, sometimes is possible to lose a s*it for a moment and that’s exactly what happened to me the other day.

    Luckily for me, all ended very well. My friend, who was with me at the store, asked me how I felt that the leakage is about to happen.

    I told her that in situations like this I just start to feel sudden heat on the parts of my body where I shouldn’t. To be more specific, the heath starts to spread outside the area of a base plate on which my stoma bag is attached.

    That was not the first time my bag leaked, and I’m pretty sure not the last either, and I can tell that for sure because of two reasons. The first one is definitely that I`m stuck with my stoma for a lifetime, and to function normally, I must have my bag on. The second one is much simpler. Shit happens, and it’s impossible to avoid them sometimes, not just to me, but to anyone in this world. Just the perception of those situations is what makes a difference between all of us.

    A long time ago, before my operation, I have had to drive for about a half-hour distance to my, now long-time ex job, and on that path, I had to use the toilet frequently. Even after almost two decades, I can still remember how many toilets were available for me on that road. Oh boy, I can still feel my gut all shaking just because my memories got alive.

    There was one “special” place where I had to stop more often. I guess you thought I liked that place a lot. Gonna have to disappoint you on that. It was because my brain would light up as an alarm next to that bar, and signal to my gut that there is a long way to go to the next one. And here we go, that`s how you end up in the same place multiple times. 

    The staff remembered me as the one who stops often just to use their toilet.

    On one occasion, while I was running as fast as my legs could go, the worker of that bar looked at me contemptuously and told me that the toilet was exclusively for the guests of the bar, but that there was another toilet just around the corner I could use freely.

    I knew she didn’t know why I stopped there. I knew she couldn’t understand because there is very little talk about my condition. If she recognizes herself in this story, I want her to know that I am not disappointed because she could not know that seconds were important to me and that I have chosen their`s toilet because it was way closer to the parking spot, not respecting any rules, and to be honest, who could respect some rules when it comes to saving your own life, or in my particular case, my panties.

    It`s been a while since I am not using that route anymore, I guess they’ve already forgotten in that bar how I look.

    On one occasion I went to the ferry port of Split with my family to pick up a family member from Italy. I’m not sure how many times we stopped on our way to Split but can tell for sure that the road was much, much longer than the average distance. It was a time before my stoma surgery.

    I don’t remember anymore was the car still on the move we managed to park it in the parking spot, but I do remember that it was tight for me to make it, and in that race for bare life, I forgot that the car should be stopped to get out of it. All I can say now, from this perspective is that I`m glad everything went well?!

    So, I was running a full sprint to make it on time, when I saw a lane in front of the toilet. I measured it from a distance, while still running and in a second calculated that I can jump over it. Thank God for long legs. I jumped over it like a gazelle. Adrenaline is quite a speedy Gonzales at times. I was just an inch away from the toilet when out of nowhere came in front of me a lady who charges for the entrance to the toilet.

    I don’t know how, I don’t remember anymore, but in a second I jumped over her… I remember that she ran after me shouting that I have to pay first and that she would call security on me if I don`t stop… Luckily for me, my mom was running after me. She paid for the entrance, and I guess she explained to her the whole situation because she was very kind when I came out.

    Ok, I’m not against charging for that type of service either, but here I appeal for that service to be charged per exit. It`s not that much important to me anymore as it was before my stoma, but for the sake of all those who understand me, please take this appeal seriously.

    When it comes to number 2, you must know that some of us are excellent athletes, talking from personal experience, and those marathon runners who have many medals might be ashamed next to us in situations like that.

    I try to understand, but it`s really hard to understand when someone says they need complete peace and quietness when using the toilet for number 2 because 20 years with UC made me forget what it looks like to plan to go to the toilet… Oh boy, when it comes to number 2, all I needed with my UC were long steps and ultimate speed.

    Even now, I laugh at a scene from 15 years ago, maybe even more, when I chased some teenagers from the toilet of a shopping center. They have laughed at me as their intestines have never made a noise… I can only imagine now what they have been thinking of me at that moment. Then, it was not funny for me at all, because it was the active phase of the disease, and the pain in the intestines was unbearable, but today, with my stoma, everything is different…

    Do you all understand now why in a well-known joke nothing is as fast as an urge for number 2 when it strikes you from out of nowhere!? Pray to God to have an available toilet on those occasions and that you are fast enough.

    It makes a huge difference to run to the toilet with a stoma and without it. As a stoma owner, you are much safer, you can see and feel that there could be an accident unless you sleep tight. But with inflammatory bowel disease, it all comes suddenly, especially in the active phase of the disease, it’s like a thunderbolt from the clear sky. You just get struck by the need for a toilet… I know, oh I know the difference very well.

    I could continue like this indefinitely. 20 years of coexistence with my tenant is a long road, and there is a lot to go still… but I am afraid if I continue to scribble would end up with more pages than in Shakespear`s Romeo and Juliet.

    Now, let me go back to the beginning of the story… I have asked the workers to use their toilet, which they allowed me to do and thanks to that I solved my issue within a minute. I leave nothing to chance. I always carry an extra bag with me. I’m sure I wasn’t at all weird to them when I asked if I could use their toilet, but I aroused their suspicion when I asked for one of their promotional bags… LOL… Dear employees, that day you saved one soul from a great mess.

    All of you, who have a shop, store, bar, or any other service facility, I kindly ask you to provide access to the toilet to your customers-users and, if possible, to charge for toilet services, if they are not free, upon exit. I am sure you will save the honor of many.

    I kindly ask all of you dear employees that, the next time someone asks to use your store toilet, remember this scribble of mine and allow the use of it. Obviously, there are certain people, of all ages, who do not even have time to blink, to think, and especially have no time to turn the lights on due to the urge for toilet usage, and all because their intestines decided to surprise them at the very moment without prior notice.

    Take my word for it when I tell you that they fought like warriors just to go out and leave the security of their home and all because their illness controls their lives. And believe me when I say that they are very brave, that they are heroes, and that they fight with all their strength against their illness, so their diagnosis does not trap them in four walls forever.

    Prijevod/Tekst: Marija Primorac, mag.act.soc


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    Marija P.


    Founder and the author of the MissStoma Health & Lifestyle Magazine. Also, an IBD warrior, cancer survivor, and stoma owner trying to spread the awareness about invisible illness that almost stole my life and about the invisible disability that gave me my life back.

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